The Jagermeister Hunting Lodge and The Famous Spiegeltent in Hyde Park offered incredible free entertainment on Thursday night as part of the Sydney Festival. Firstly, America's tUnE-yArDs (aka Merrill Garbus, pictured above) performed songs from her album BiRdBrAiNs. The show was massively inventive, with Garbus, as is her way, utilising the hell out of a loop pedal to create a layered, frenzied sound which transfixed the crowd. Most notably, the songwriter's vocal was really powerful as she built up tribal howls into something trance-like that got the girls in the front row dancing. She may be the subject of a huge amount of hype right now, but this intimate 45-minute show proved that she is worth it. Merrill Garbus is indeed a very interesting artist.
After this show in the Hunting Lodge, Wild At Heart (pictured, below), a band led by Holiday Sidewinder & Pia May of Bridezilla fame, provided a night of Lynchian delight at The Famous Spiegeltent. They performed renditions of memorable soundtrack titles from cult-classic films such as Wild at Heart, Fire Walk With Me, Blue Velvet and, boldly, Eraserhead, as well as the television series Twin Peaks. On a stage drenched in moody blue and red lighting, the group's performance was suitably atmospheric, with Sidewinder's voice beguilingly soaring across the ornate venue. Set-closer Wicked Game was a highlight, as was Blue Velvet. They are back at The Spiegeltent on Friday 27th January for another free show. If you like Lynch and/or good music, you would do well to attend.
Meanwhile, there is also more FREE goodness to be had at the Hunting Lodge. Just announced, Soft Circle will be playing tonight (Saturday 21st January, 8.30pm). They are Hisham Bharoocha and Ben Vida, who are in Australia for Sydney Festival’s 41 Strings by Nick Zinner. Like tUnE-yArDs, they offer layered effects of looped sounds, drums and vocals.
Also added to the schedule is Ngaiire, who came to Australia at 16 having spent a lot of her life living in the jungles of Papua New Guinea in a little grass hut with no electricity, television or internet. Her eclectic sound draws from influences as diverse as Sarah Vaughan, Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley and the enigmatic Erykah Badu. You can see her on Wednesday 25th January at 8.30pm.
More details of the intimate free shows at the Hunting Lodge (like the one pictured above - which saw tUnE-yArDs receive a huge ovation) can be found at www.facebook.com/JagermeisterAustralia. Meanwhile, keep it Bobbysix for news on the awesomeness going on at The Famous Spiegeltent, the Sydney Festival, and, you know, just in life in general.
Words and pictures by Bobby Townsend.